Just a heads-up, the Ibanez Jem7EAFX – the fixed-bridge Jem that everyone liked the idea of but weren’t so thrilled about the big Vai/Earth decal behind the bridge – is being discontinued in 2010, according to the venerable Rich Harris of Ibanez Rules in a post on Jemsite. So if you want one you’d better snap it up now.
Check out Rich Harris’s awesome NAMM coverage at Ibanez Rules. Rich is a legend among Ibanez geeks such as myself. Here are a few interesting new 7-strings from his site, but be sure to go to to see the rest.
Rich says: “My pick for the coolest new instrument at the show, Ibanez continues it’s innovation into multi string instruments but introducing a Bass/Guitar Hybrid 7 string based on the SoundGear platform. It’s tuned to standard 6 string bass tuning B E A D G C but adds a high E, you can see how easily this can be changed to normal 7 string guitar tuning. It’s 30″ scale and narrower string spacing means you can play it like a guitar, or a bass.”
This is a Prestige series instrument made in Japan. List price is $2133.32 including case. Rich has ordered some of these, so hit up his site if you’re interested.
Didn’t see this one coming! Rich says: “Basswood body with flamed maple top [I’m guessing veneer at this price point], 7 string, 5 piece maple/walnut Wizard II – 7 neck, jumbo frets on a bound rosewood board, basswood body, fixed 7 bridge, AH1-7 neck and AH2-7 bridge pickups.” Made in Indonesia, list price is $666.65. Case is the M100C at $159.99.
Photos by Rich Harris, but hosted by me so I don’t eat up his bandwidth.
The display accompanying the guitar at NAMM reads:
The newest member of the JEM family of Steve Vai signature guitars is the first JEM to feature a fixed bridge, which alone makes it a modern guitar milestone. But as Steve Vai’s own global graphic design on the body indicates, the JEM7EAFXBK is the first of Ibanez’s World Wood Program dedicated to increased utilisation of sustainable hardwoods in guitar making. Basswood is used in the body not only because of its tone, light weight and ability to work well with effects, but also because basswood has long been recognised by progressive guitar makers as a sustainable hardwood with a fast growing cycle. The maple used in making the neck is verified as a sustainable wood by the United States Forestry Service and the Indiana DNR Division of forestry.
Ibanez and its artists and designers believe that the use of renewable resources in musical instruments is a necessary and important contribution to the livable world.
As Steve Vai himself says, “This guitar will give you wood forever.”
The venerable Rich Harris from Ibanez Rules has confirmed in a posting on Jemsite that the much-rumoured Ibanez Fireman (reverse Iceman, geddit?) Paul Gilbert model will be released in extremely limited quantities, and it ain’t going to be cheap at $9,333.33.
Rich said: “There will be 50 Fireman’s total. 45 SSS for World distribution, 18 to HUSA, and 5 in HH for Japan distribution only, probably by lottery the way they usually do.
The 20th (the PGM100RE) is very reasonable at $2,666, but limited to 300 Worldwide, 120 to HUSA, so tough getting allocations.”
Free plug for Rich: I’ve bought a bunch of parts from Ibanez Rules over the years, and while I’ve never bought a guitar from him, his setups are legendary.
Here’s my work-in-progress custom Ibanez RG. The body was an eBay find, and a Christmas present from Mrs Iheartguitar: it’s an Ibanez RG570 with a custom swirl paint job by Herc Fede. For a while, Herc was selling painted bodies on eBay, as well as doing custom work, but as of July 1, 2008 he stopped taking orders for custom finishes. He plans to still occasionally offer painted bodies for sale, so check his webside periodically to see if you can snag one. What I particularly like about this body is the abstract duck figure in the top left corner of the image.
The neck was another eBay discovery, and was hand made by Herc himself. The colours are based on the Ibanez Jem 77PMC purple multicolour model from the early 90s. The neck is in great condition and feels very smooth and comfortable.
The electronics will consist of a pair of Dimarzio EJ Custom humbuckers, which are designed to sound like old Gretsch FilterTrons, and a Dimarzio Vintage Solo single coil in the middle, which is voiced to sound like a P90. I already have so many shred-style guitars that I thought it would be cool to have something that sounds a little more traditional, yet looks completely over the top.